A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe.Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of natural phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies (also known as applied physics or engineering physics).
The study and practice of physics is based on an intellectual ladder of discoveries and insights from ancient times to the present. Many mathematical and physical ideas used today found their earliest expression in the work of ancient civilizations, such as the Babylonian astronomers and Egyptian engineers, the Greek philosophers of science and mathematicians such as Thales of Miletus, Euclid in Ptolemaic Egypt, Archimedes of Syracuse and Aristarchus of Samos. Roots also emerged in ancient Asian cultures such as India and China, and particularly the Islamic medieval period, which saw the development of scientific methodology emphasising experimentation, such as the work of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) in the 11th century. The modern scientific worldview and the bulk of physics education can be said to flow from the scientific revolution in Europe, starting with the work of Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler in the early 1600s. Newton's laws of motion and Newton's law of universal gravitation were formulated in the 17th century. The experimental discoveries of Faraday and the theory of Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism were developmental high points during the 19th century. Many physicists contributed to the development of quantum mechanics in the early-to-mid 20th century. New knowledge in the early 21st century includes a large increase in understanding physical cosmology.
The broad and general study of nature, natural philosophy, was divided into several fields in the 19th century, when the concept of "science" received its modern shape. Specific categories emerged, such as "biology" and "biologist", "physics" and "physicist", "chemistry" and "chemist", among other technical fields and titles.The term physicist was coined by William Whewell (also the originator of the term "scientist") in his 1840 book The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences.
A standard undergraduate physics curriculum consists of classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, non-relativistic quantum mechanics, optics, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, and laboratory experience.Physics students also need training in mathematics (calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, complex analysis, etc.), and in computer science.
Any physics-oriented career position requires at least an undergraduate degree in physics or applied physics, while career options widen with a Master's degree like MSc, MPhil, MPhys or MSci.
For research-oriented careers, students work toward a doctoral degree specializing in a particular field. Fields of specialization include experimental and theoretical astrophysics, atomic physics, biological physics, chemical physics, condensed matter physics, cosmology, geophysics, gravitational physics, material science, medical physics, microelectronics, molecular physics, nuclear physics, optics, radiophysics, electromagnetic field and microwave physics, particle physics, and plasma physics.
The three major employers of career physicists are academic institutions, laboratories, and private industries, with the largest employer being the last. Physicists in academia or government labs tend to have titles such as Assistants, Professors, Sr./Jr. Scientist, or postdocs. As per the American Institute of Physics, some 20% of new physics Ph.D.s holds jobs in engineering development programs, while 14% turn to computer software and about 11% are in business/education.A majority of physicists employed apply their skills and training to interdisciplinary sectors (e.g. finance ). Job titles for graduate physicists include Agricultural Scientist, Air Traffic Controller, Biophysicist, Computer Programmer, Electrical Engineer, Environmental Analyst, Geophysicist, Medical Physicist, Meteorologist, Oceanographer, Physics Teacher/Professor/Researcher, Research Scientist, Reactor Physicist, Engineering Physicist, Satellite Missions Analyst, Science Writer, Stratigrapher, Software Engineer, Systems Engineer, Microelectronics Engineer, Radar Developer, Technical Consultant, etc.
The majority of Physics terminal bachelor's degree holders are employed in the private sector. Other fields are academia, government and military service, nonprofit entities, labs and teaching.
Typical duties of physicists with master's and doctoral degrees working in their domain involve research, observation and analysis, data preparation, instrumentation, design and development of industrial or medical equipment, computing and software development, etc.
The highest honor awarded to physicists is the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded since 1901 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.National physical societies have many prizes and awards for professional recognition. In the case of the American Physical Society, as of 2017, there are 33 separate prizes and 38 separate awards in the field.
Chartered Physicist (CPhys) is a chartered status and a professional qualification awarded by the Institute of Physics. It is denoted by the postnominals "CPhys".
Achieving chartered status in any profession denotes to the wider community a high level of specialised subject knowledge and professional competence. According to the Institute of Physics, holders of the award of the Chartered Physicist (CPhys) demonstrate the "highest standards of professionalism, up-to-date expertise, quality and safety" along with "the capacity to undertake independent practice and exercise leadership" as well as "commitment to keep pace with advancing knowledge and with the increasing expectations and requirements for which any profession must take responsibility".
Chartered Physicist is considered to be equal in status to Chartered Engineer, which the IoP also awards as a member of the Engineering Council UK, and other chartered statuses in the UK. It is also considered a "regulated profession" under the European professional qualification directives.
The Canadian Association of Physicists can appoint an official designation called the P. Phys. which stands for Professional Physicist, similar to the designation of P. Eng. which stands for Professional Engineer. This designation was unveiled at the CAP congress in 1999 and already more than 200 people carry this distinction.
To get the certification, at minimum proof of honours bachelor or higher degree in physics or a closely related discipline must be provided. Also, the physicist must have completed, or be about to complete, three years of recent physics-related work experience after graduation. And, unless exempted, a professional practice examination must also be passed. Exemption can be granted to candidate that have practiced physics for at least seven years and provide a detailed description of their professional accomplishments which clearly demonstrate that the exam is not necessary.
Work experience will be considered physics-related if it uses physics directly or significantly uses the modes of thought (such as the approach to problem-solving) developed in your education or experience as a physicist, in all cases regardless of whether the experience is in academia, industry, government, or elsewhere. Management of physics related work qualifies, and so does appropriate graduate student work.
The South African Institute of Physics delivers a certification of Professional Physicists (Pr.Phys). At a minimum, the owner must possess a 3-year bachelors or equivalent degree in physics or a related field and an additional minimum of six years' experience in a physics-related activity; or an Honor or equivalent degree in physics or a related field and an additional minimum of five years' experience in a physics-related activity; or master or equivalent degree in physics or a related field and an additional minimum of three years' experience in a physics-related activity; a Doctorate or equivalent degree in Physics or a related field; or training or experience which, in the opinion of the Council, is equivalent to any of the above.
Physicists may be a member of a physical society of a country or region. Physical societies commonly publish scientific journals, organize physics conferences and award prizes for contributions to the field of physics. Some examples of physical societies are the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, with the oldest physical society being the German Physical Society.
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms. Chemists carefully measure substance proportions, chemical reaction rates, and other chemical properties. In Commonwealth English, pharmacists are often called chemists.
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering – the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructure while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructure that may have been neglected.
The American Physical Society (APS) is a not-for-profit membership organization of professionals in physics and related disciplines, comprising nearly fifty divisions, sections, and other units. Its mission is the advancement and diffusion of knowledge of physics. The society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the prestigious Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than twenty science meetings each year. APS is a member society of the American Institute of Physics. Since February 2015 the organization is led by chief executive officer Kate Kirby.
The Institute of Physics (IOP) is a UK-based learned society and professional body that works to advance physics education, research and application.
Juan Martín Maldacena is a theoretical physicist and the Carl P. Feinberg Professor in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study. He has made significant contributions to the foundations of string theory and quantum gravity. His most famous discovery is the AdS/CFT correspondence, a realization of the holographic principle in string theory.
Leonard Susskind is an American physicist, who is a professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, and founding director of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. His research interests include string theory, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum cosmology. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and a distinguished professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study.
Ashoke Sen, FRS is an Indian theoretical physicist and distinguished professor at the Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad. He is also an honorary fellow in National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar, India and also a Morningstar Visiting professor at MIT and a distinguished professor at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study. His main area of work is string theory. He was among the first recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize "for opening the path to the realisation that all string theories are different limits of the same underlying theory".
Engineering physics, or engineering science, refers to the study of the combined disciplines of physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and engineering, particularly computer, nuclear, electrical, electronic, aerospace, materials or mechanical engineering. By focusing on the scientific method as a rigorous basis, it seeks ways to apply, design, and develop new solutions in engineering.
A Master of Engineering is either an academic or professional master's degree in the field of engineering.
A medical physicist is a professional who applies the principles and methods of both physics and medicine. They focus on the areas of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as ensuring quality services and prevention of risks to the patients, and members of the public in general. A medical physicist plays a fundamental role in applying physics to medicine, but particularly in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The scientific and technological progress in medical physics has led to a variety of skills that must be integrated into the role of a medical physicist in order for them to perform their job. The "medical services" provided to patients undergoing diagnostic and therapeutic treatments must, therefore, be the result of different but complementary skills.
The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) is the United Kingdom's professional body and learned society for physicists, engineers and technologists within the field of medicine, founded in 1995, changing its name from the Institution of Physics and Engineering in Medicine and Biology (IPEMB) in 1997. The Institute is governed by an elected Board of Trustees reporting to which are the Science, Research and Innovation Council and the Professional and Standards Council. The councils have operational responsibility for scientific and professional aspects of the Institute's work, respectively. Beneath the councils is a substructure of committees, groups and panels of members, which undertake the work of the Institute.
A professional degree, formerly known in the US as a first professional degree, is a degree that prepares someone to work in a particular profession, often meeting the academic requirements for licensure or accreditation. Professional degrees may be either graduate or undergraduate entry, depending on the profession concerned and the country, and may be classified as bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees. For a variety of reasons, professional degrees may bear the name of a different level of qualification from their classification in qualifications, e.g., some UK professional degrees are named bachelor's but are at master's level, while some Australian and Canadian professional degrees have the name "doctor" but are classified as master's or bachelor's degrees.
In the United Kingdom, a Chartered Engineer is an engineer registered with the Engineering Council. Contemporary Chartered Engineers are degree-qualified and have gained the highest level of professional competencies through training and monitored professional practice experience. This is a peer-reviewed process. The formation process of a Chartered Engineer consists of obtaining an accredited Bachelor's degree with honours in engineering or technology, plus either an appropriate Master's degree or Engineering Doctorate (EngD) accredited by a professional engineering institution, or appropriate further learning to Master's level alongside a minimum of four years of professional post graduate peer reviewed experience and the ability to demonstrate fulfilment of various skills-based criteria. The title Chartered Engineer is protected by civil law and is a terminal qualification in engineering. The Engineering Council regulates professional engineering titles in the UK. With more than 180,000 registrants from many countries, designation as a Chartered Engineer is one of the most recognisable international engineering qualifications.
The Otto Hahn Medal is awarded by the Max Planck Society to young scientists and researchers in both the natural and social sciences. The award takes its name from the German chemist and Nobel Prize laureate Otto Hahn, who served as the first president of the Max Planck Society from 1948 to 1960.
Chartered Physicist (CPhys) is a chartered status and a professional qualification awarded by the Institute of Physics. It is denoted by the postnominals "CPhys".
A Chartered professional is a person who has gained a specific level of skill or competence in a particular field of work, which has been recognised by the award of a formal credential by a relevant professional organization. Chartered status is considered a mark of professional competency, and is awarded mainly by chartered professional bodies and learned societies. Common in Britain, it is also used in Ireland, the United States and the Commonwealth, and has been adopted by organizations around the world.
Bimla Buti is an Indian physicist and specializes in the field of plasma physics. She was the first Indian woman Physicist Fellow of Indian National Science Academy(INSA). In 1994, she was awarded INSA-Vainu Bappu Award.
Physics outreach encompasses facets of science outreach and physics education, and a variety of activities by schools, research institutes, universities, clubs and institutions such as science museums aimed at broadening the audience for and awareness and understanding of physics. While the general public may sometimes be the focus of such activities, physics outreach often centers on developing and providing resources and making presentations to students, educators in other disciplines, and in some cases researchers within different areas of physics.
Warren Elliot Henry was an American physicist who made significant contributions to the advancement of science and technology and education, training and mentoring several generations of physicists. Nearly seven decades of work in the fields of magnetism and superconductivity have earned him praise as one of the most eminent African-American scientists in U.S. history.
Tracy Robin Slatyer is a professor of particle physics with a concentration in theoretical astrophysics with tenure at MIT. She was a 2014 recipient of the Rossi Prize for gamma ray detection of Fermi bubbles, which are unexpected large structure in our galaxy. Her research also involves seeking explanations for dark matter and the gamma ray haze at the center of the Milky Way. In 2021, she was awarded a New Horizons in Physics Prize for "major contributions to particle astrophysics, from models of dark matter to the discovery of the "Fermi Bubbles."
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